The Young Critics project has come to an end and it is time for the young women involved to graduate on to their next adventure! For some that means starting university, while others have become weekly volunteers at the library. Wherever life takes them next, we want them to know that everyone at GWL is proud of them.
Before their “graduation”, we gathered feedback from the Young Critics about their experience with the project, and how it has affected their lives. Read on to hear about their time with us.
**If you are interested in future programs and events geared towards young women, please join our mailing list, as there will be new activities in the fall. You can sign up for our mailing list here.**
Before Young Critics, how involved were you in the arts?
Never. This is my first first time ever. I couldn’t get meaning from the arts before, but now I kind of know what it’s about.
What were your expectations when the group first started?
I wasn’t sure what to expect, all I knew was that there was some kind of writing involved which I enjoy. It turned out to be so much more and better than what I expected.
What has been your favorite thing about Young Critics?
The sisterhood that we have developed within the group. How comfortable we can all be because we know that we are valued, welcome, and will be listened to whatever our background, education, or opinion.
Has anything surprised you about your experience with Young Critics?
I was surprised at the amount of activities that took place that we went to see. The plays, the films, etc., it was great because it then gave us so much to discuss at our meetings.
Feminism: What does it mean to you? How has your definition changed since Young Critics?
To me it means supporting women and breaking down gender roles in general. Since Young Critics I would say that I have learned to be less firm on what feminism means to me. By this I mean, feminism requires an ability to listen to the multitude of female experiences and allow your understanding of feminism to evolve, I think Young Critics have helped me to do that.
How has Young Critics affected other areas of your life?
It’s made me more interested in art and particularly women’s role in art.
What impact has Young Critics had on your confidence?
It has had a massive impact on my life. I am more confident, have more friends, feel comfortable speaking within large groups, and I can now speak comfortably about the arts. I have learned so much and discovered some real role models. I have now got the comfort of knowing that I have an organisation available in Glasgow that will support me through anything, where I can feel safe, welcome and appreciated.
How did the exhibition (process and event) make you feel?
Proud. And excited to see all the amazing things we created.
What is the best/most important thing you learned via Young Critics?
Whatever you do, be proud of your work.
How has Young Critics changed your relationship with GWL?
It has affirmed my desire to volunteer there because of the warm, welcoming environment, as I’ve become aware of the various roles there.
What impact do you think Young Critics has had on GWL?
I think just allowing a young diverse group of women to have an input into the library means that the library is showing its support of young women. It is giving us a space that quite often we are denied within society. I think it is incredibly important that the library opens its self to young women in this way and values the input of young women.
If you could say one thing to the Board/Staff/Funders what would it be?
The Women’s Library MUST continue to exist and thrive so that it can continue to uplift women in this way. I think it is so invaluable that women are given this space where they can feel supported and safe and inspired by other women. As cliché as it is to say, the idea that the library would be able to help and support any other young women going through something similar to myself is enough to make me want to dedicate myself to making sure the library flourishes.
Why do you think GWL needs to exist?
To encourage women to get involved in things they might not have otherwise, and to create and acknowledge women’s history.
GWL needs to exist because it has a sense of magic within the walls. Women are built up, given a voice, and encouraged to do things they may never have had the confidence to do. The organisation has given me, my fellow young critics, and so many other women the power to speak out and give our views on issues, a vital voice in the progression of equality. From wall to wall the library is bursting with incredible books, art work, videos and plays which have been created by women who deserve the recognition of their talent. I am so proud and honoured to be a part of this organisation, it holds such a special place in my heart and I will do all I can to encourage the growth and recognition of this fantastic organisation.
So that women’s work can exist. Their work is hardly recognized so this is an opportunity for women to come here and see work done by women of every age.
GWL needs to exist because there’s nothing really like it. There’s isn’t a place that offers books which focuses solely on the achievements and the works of women. Which means that sometimes they may go unnoticed. But with the Women’s Library they won’t. The Women’s Library is so much more than a library which anyone who steps foot in to the library will understand.
There is a lack of women’s history in other libraries. Without dedicated centres such as GWL, this history and culture output has often been sidelined.
The library as an entity was there for me just I really needed something to help me along a little bit. When you are really badly struggling with your mental health, it’s really hard to get enjoyment out of anything. So the fact that the library was somehow able to offer me some sense of enjoyment and even more importantly a sense of worth and importance really was invaluable. It offered me a space where I felt totally safe and where I didn’t feel anxious or nervous to be and I had never experience anywhere like that before. I really do thing the library has been so much more important to me than I will ever be able to express.